June 4: All About the Glowy Eyes…

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Tonight’s moonrise, as seen from my phone…

If tonight’s Night Drive had a theme, it was ‘really far away’. We saw plenty of animals tonight but they were all ‘really far away’. Without binoculars, I think the guests only saw a series of glowy eyes. They had to take my word for it that those glowy eyes were Wild Cats or Springhares.

A glowy eye MYTH: It’s not true that you can tell if an animal is a carnivore or a veggiesaurus by the colour of its eyeshine. Lots of guides will tell you otherwise. But If it was true, my job would be much simpler and much less exciting. In fact, the colour reflected back often just depends on the angle at which the light hits it. Someone at the back of the truck may see a Springhare with blue eyeshine, and someone at the front might see the same one with yellow eyeshine.

A glowy eye FACT: The ‘glow’ is caused by a layer of reflective cells in the eye called a ‘Tapetum Lucidum’, which is one of my Top Ten favourite words.

Sightings:

Small Spotted Genet
African Wild Cat
Jackal
Bat Eared Fox
Springhare
Spotted Eagle Owl
Gemsbok
Springbok
Wildebeest
Steenbok

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